So I stepped right up to myself and this is what I found...
A muddy pool of associations swirling around behind different doors. I open one, and Intersubjectivity invites me into her comforting space. But I knew I needed to see what else is there before I slip into that easy place. Intuition has a sign on her door, but something tells me not to go there yet. I hear some soothing sounds and peak behind the red door to find Emergence weaving magic as she goes. I hear an assortment of voices, bossy, soft, knowing, regrettable. I knock on the door and wait. Reflexivity opens with a knowing look on her face. “Are you here to find Contrapuntal or Multiple?” she inquires. “For yourself or someone else?” she asks with a fleeting look of annoyance. I shook my head and continued down the hall. A little sign caught my eye. It read “Unknown (formally known as Don’t Know)”. I tentatively look in. I see Unknown sitting comfortably amongst a group of others. Curiously I watched one of the others walk across the room, with a relieved look on her face, heading towards a door. And as I read the name plaque, I then knew who I was looking for, Validation. *
As I considered how I spend time with a variety of people of varying ages and in varying settings, I noticed the mindfulness required to be present and attentive in the emergence of finding what matters the most. I noticed the constant conversations I have with the many different parts of myself, sometimes useful as “confirmation of something planned” (Allen 200 p. 24) and sometimes a surprise. I noticed how overwhelming emotion and sensation can be held in the phenomena of an experience, but cannot always easily be named. But the thing I became curious about is the role and subtleties of validation and acknowledgment in the spaces where companioning, or working alongside someone, can take place.
"I hear you. I see you."
Feeling heard can be an important aspect of working with someone who is inquiring into something in his or her lives. Validation can take form as simply as a word or two acknowledging an experience or naming and emotion, or can be a more formalized intersubjective response (a personal response to a client, either verbal or in multimodal form that contains a meeting of subjectivities found in the session. For example a drawing, a postcard or perhaps even a song.) Sometimes these validations can land immediately and sometimes others can leave us wondering. Yet they can hold an important role as we move from what is not known and what is known, and what we would like to know.
Allen, J. (2004). The art of intersubjectivity. Unpublished dissertation. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.